Monday, February 04, 2008

Events of the last 41 hours

* ... Christian Tetzlaff's E string broke in the first bar of the Brahms Violin Concerto finale chez LPO/Jurowski on Saturday night. He zipped off the stage to change the string rather than grabbing Boris the leader's fiddle. Apart from that, the best Brahms concerto I've heard in 20 years.

* A mobile phone going off in the last bar of the Tchaikovsky Pathetique in same concert. Vladimir held up his baton after the basses reached the end and maintained silence until the ringing expired. It became the spookiest moment of a staggering performance - almost like the death of Tchaikovsky's own phone.

* A study-day on Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time at the QEH yesterday. Included the very first screening of a new film about its origin, entitled 'The Charm of Impossibility'. Fabulous. I urge all Messiaen fans to see it if and when they get the chance.

* A quiz at the Royal Opera House in aid of the National Youth Orchestra, at which the great and good of the musical world, including the national broadsheet newspapers, the National Theatre, the ROH, a bunch of 'Maestri', BBC Radio 3, the Barbican, etc, buy tables, build teams and compete against one another. Now a well-established annual highlight, though this was the first time I'd taken part. The Guardian won again (it usually does), even though its editor is chairman of the NYO and organises the shebang. It was b****y difficult, too, heavily biased in favour of those who know how to handle early music, Britten and crosswords.

* Heard extract of Jonas Kaufmann's long-awaited new operatic aria disc on the radio. Meistersinger Prize Song - taken so slowly and rendered so sentimental that all the stuffing fell out. It was positively painful - and a terrible disappointment to those of us who were trying so effortlessly to love him.

* Hubby's departure on tour to Toulouse and Spain at 5am today.

* The news, fresh from Opera Chic, that Anna Netrebko and Erwin Schrott are pregnant!!

Blimey. Time for a trip to the gym and a stiff g&t.